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 Playoff Observations 
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
Billy, you can champion the Defenses left if you want to, but the fact of the matter is that it was the offenses that won the game in both deciding contests. There were something like 5 lead changes in the Giants game. Neither D could stop the opposing offense when it needed to. New England's offense (the best offense in the playoffs), was beating the Raven's defense (the best defense in the playoffs) for virtually all of the game. The Ravens finally put together a scoring drive to take the lead, but when it mattered the Patriots marched right down the field and scored.

The ONLY team in the playoffs that the "running game" rule doesn't hold true to is the Patriots. However, they're a fluke of nature, they have one of the most complex offenses in the NFL, and the ONLY way the get away with it is because they have a passer that consistently completes over 65% of his passes.

Look at the WRs the Giants have - they have FOUR GUYS that are built like #1s. Look at the WRs the Saints have - they have THREE GUYS built like #1s. SF isn't far behind with Vern and Crabtree... Looking back I have to wonder if Harbaugh is still happy that they cut Braylon??? ALL of these teams less the Patriots have very good running games, and can close out games, sustain drives and keep their defenses off of the field. That alone will make a teams defense better. To me, upgrading the offense is the obvious choice this offseason.


January 25th, 2012, 3:21 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
Quote:
I would like to add that I think a great safety can elevate your defense to a level unobtainable otherwise. Look at all the great safeties in the league, and you'll notice that they are usually synonymous with a great defense. When Goldson stepped up his play, he not only made the Pro Bowl, but he also elevated our defense greatly. He's the hardest hitter, and hawked the most interceptions of anyone on our team. Whitner was also a great hard-hitting safety (hit on Pierre Thomas in the playoffs). A safety alone, imo, can do wonders for a defense.

Linebackers that don't miss tackles are another. No offense, but watching the Lions trying to tackle the Saints drove me nuts. I didn't count the missed tackles, but I bet it was more than we had all season as a team.

This thread is also so weird. I said this a while ago about you guys and I was blasted for it. I said a great defense and running game > passing alone, and I was told the Lions would walk through the playoffs, and the Niners would be exposed for who they really are. Well we were just 1 OT game away from the big one... 2 fumbles away... gahhhhh....

And like someone said: Ravens, Giants, and even the Pats had great defenses in the playoffs.


some good points but lets not forget how bad your division was. if your playoff game gets played in New Orleans its a difft outcome. The Lions trade places w you and play in your division and they sweep it and sit pretty at 13-3 w a home playoff game. the two teams arent that far apart.


January 25th, 2012, 5:49 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
The Legend wrote:
Quote:
I would like to add that I think a great safety can elevate your defense to a level unobtainable otherwise. Look at all the great safeties in the league, and you'll notice that they are usually synonymous with a great defense. When Goldson stepped up his play, he not only made the Pro Bowl, but he also elevated our defense greatly. He's the hardest hitter, and hawked the most interceptions of anyone on our team. Whitner was also a great hard-hitting safety (hit on Pierre Thomas in the playoffs). A safety alone, imo, can do wonders for a defense.

Linebackers that don't miss tackles are another. No offense, but watching the Lions trying to tackle the Saints drove me nuts. I didn't count the missed tackles, but I bet it was more than we had all season as a team.

This thread is also so weird. I said this a while ago about you guys and I was blasted for it. I said a great defense and running game > passing alone, and I was told the Lions would walk through the playoffs, and the Niners would be exposed for who they really are. Well we were just 1 OT game away from the big one... 2 fumbles away... gahhhhh....

And like someone said: Ravens, Giants, and even the Pats had great defenses in the playoffs.


some good points but lets not forget how bad your division was. if your playoff game gets played in New Orleans its a difft outcome. The Lions trade places w you and play in your division and they sweep it and sit pretty at 13-3 w a home playoff game. the two teams arent that far apart.


I agree with you somewhat Legend. I think the Lions offense and SFs offense is a wash. SF definitely has a better running game, but we have a better Qb and WR corps. I do think that SF has a better OL.

However, IMO it would take us 3-4 players to upgrade our D to the level of San Fran. We would need at least one baller LB, a good CB to push everyone down the depth chart, and at least another starting caliber S.


January 25th, 2012, 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
I think you all underestimate the Pat's running game. They get yards on the ground when they need to and Green-Ellis has not fumbled in his career.

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January 25th, 2012, 10:22 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
I would call the Pats running game a compliment to their passing game. They help keep a defense honest, but are certainly not the reason New England scores points. The Patriots are successful because they can alter their offense to whatever the defense allows them. Short passing game, deep passing game...whatever. The guys they have believe in the system, and work within the system. I think that's why Chad Johnson (yes, I still call him by his given name) had such a hard time with it. He's not a system guy.

In regards to whether the Lions should upgrade on offense or defense, I'd say a little of one and a lot of the other. It IS possible to upgrade on both sides of the ball in any given off-season. The Lions did it this past year. Titus Young upgraded the offense. Mikel LeShoure would have been an upgrade if he didn't get hurt. On defense, a number of player acquisitions upgraded various positions.

However, it is clear to me that fixing the running game is not simply as easy as plugging in a player or two. And much the same can be said of the defense. But ask yourself this question.....as they stand today, which are the better of the two....our offense or defense? Anyone who thinks our defense is better, just put down the crack pipe and see if you can get on an episode of Intervention.

Our offense can score. It's not like we can rely on them to score when the chips are down, but their capability of scoring is a damn sight better than the capability of our defense to prevent a team from scoring when it counts.

And let me reiterate....while most of you are concerning yourselves with player upgrades, I still hold the position that the systems need some tweaking as well. Until that is done, there won't be a great running game, and our defense will continue to struggle.

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January 26th, 2012, 9:41 am
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
The Legend wrote:
some good points but lets not forget how bad your division was. if your playoff game gets played in New Orleans its a difft outcome. The Lions trade places w you and play in your division and they sweep it and sit pretty at 13-3 w a home playoff game. the two teams arent that far apart.

I wasn't even talking about the division, but OK, we'll go there.

What was worse? Our division (Cards, Seahawks, Rams) or the Patriots division (Jets, Bills, Dolphins). The Patriots went the entire season without beating a single team with a winning record, and only JUST beat one (barely) when they played the Ravens.

The Giants didn't make the playoffs until the last game of the year, barely winning a division with the Eagles, Cowboys, and Redskins. The Eagles only started to win when the games did not matter.

You harp on how bad our division is, but the Rams beat the Saints, and the Seahawks beat the Ravens, and Giants in New York.

And, prior to this year, the NFC West tied the AFC East for the most representatives in the Super Bowl than any division in the NFL for the last 10 years (Rams twice, Cards once, Seahawks once. AFC East - Patriots 4 times).

Plus the 49ers amassed a 9-1 record while only playing one divisional opponent, beating 3 playoff teams to get to that mark. We beat the Saints and almost beat the Giants. Both Eli and Drew praised our defense as the toughest defense to play against in the NFL.

The Saints played 6 playoff teams all year. Packers played 6 playoff teams. The Giants played 5 playoff teams. You guys played 6. 49ers played 5. Falcons played 5. If it weren't for the Broncos, all those teams (except the Saints) would have played 5 playoff teams. The combined record of their opponents were very similar to each other. If you take out the Rams, we had one of the most difficult schedules in the league W-L wise.

I really don't know what you were getting at, so I tried to hit it from all angles. My point was that a safety can elevate your defense. I don't think playing in a specific division has anything to do with the creation or illusion of a good defense.

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January 26th, 2012, 11:08 am
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
m2karateman wrote:
I would call the Pats running game a compliment to their passing game. They help keep a defense honest, but are certainly not the reason New England scores points. The Patriots are successful because they can alter their offense to whatever the defense allows them. Short passing game, deep passing game...whatever. The guys they have believe in the system, and work within the system. I think that's why Chad Johnson (yes, I still call him by his given name) had such a hard time with it. He's not a system guy.

In regards to whether the Lions should upgrade on offense or defense, I'd say a little of one and a lot of the other. It IS possible to upgrade on both sides of the ball in any given off-season. The Lions did it this past year. Titus Young upgraded the offense. Mikel LeShoure would have been an upgrade if he didn't get hurt. On defense, a number of player acquisitions upgraded various positions.

However, it is clear to me that fixing the running game is not simply as easy as plugging in a player or two. And much the same can be said of the defense. But ask yourself this question.....as they stand today, which are the better of the two....our offense or defense? Anyone who thinks our defense is better, just put down the crack pipe and see if you can get on an episode of Intervention.

Our offense can score. It's not like we can rely on them to score when the chips are down, but their capability of scoring is a damn sight better than the capability of our defense to prevent a team from scoring when it counts.

And let me reiterate....while most of you are concerning yourselves with player upgrades, I still hold the position that the systems need some tweaking as well. Until that is done, there won't be a great running game, and our defense will continue to struggle.



What would you like to see changed about the offensive system to upgrade our running game? Zone blocking? More two TE sets?

IMO our running game problems virtually 100% personnel related, and 70-80% has to do with the offensive line. I think there are very few running backs that can be successful here, but teams like Pitt, GB, N.O., N.E., etc. can put virtually anyone back there and be successful.


January 26th, 2012, 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
wjb21ndtown wrote:
What would you like to see changed about the offensive system to upgrade our running game? Zone blocking? More two TE sets?

IMO our running game problems virtually 100% personnel related, and 70-80% has to do with the offensive line. I think there are very few running backs that can be successful here, but teams like Pitt, GB, N.O., N.E., etc. can put virtually anyone back there and be successful.


We had possibly the worst playcalling in the entire league on 3rd OR 4th & 3 or less. No Imagination, No Misdirection, Didnt have the Talent to Run up the Middle, but Continued to try to run up the middle, many times with a Light Speed Back named Jahvid Best. Linehans Passing Schemes are solid, but he is a terrible playcalled when he needs to run and the opponent knows he needs to run.


January 27th, 2012, 4:02 am
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
DJ-B wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
What would you like to see changed about the offensive system to upgrade our running game? Zone blocking? More two TE sets?

IMO our running game problems virtually 100% personnel related, and 70-80% has to do with the offensive line. I think there are very few running backs that can be successful here, but teams like Pitt, GB, N.O., N.E., etc. can put virtually anyone back there and be successful.


We had possibly the worst playcalling in the entire league on 3rd OR 4th & 3 or less. No Imagination, No Misdirection, Didnt have the Talent to Run up the Middle, but Continued to try to run up the middle, many times with a Light Speed Back named Jahvid Best. Linehans Passing Schemes are solid, but he is a terrible playcalled when he needs to run and the opponent knows he needs to run.


But the play calling goes right back to the coaches. If you say we have the worst play calling then it's not our offensive line anymore.

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January 27th, 2012, 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
DJ-B wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
What would you like to see changed about the offensive system to upgrade our running game? Zone blocking? More two TE sets?

IMO our running game problems virtually 100% personnel related, and 70-80% has to do with the offensive line. I think there are very few running backs that can be successful here, but teams like Pitt, GB, N.O., N.E., etc. can put virtually anyone back there and be successful.


We had possibly the worst playcalling in the entire league on 3rd OR 4th & 3 or less. No Imagination, No Misdirection, Didnt have the Talent to Run up the Middle, but Continued to try to run up the middle, many times with a Light Speed Back named Jahvid Best. Linehans Passing Schemes are solid, but he is a terrible playcalled when he needs to run and the opponent knows he needs to run.


We had the worst "playcalling" be cause the lack of talent on our OL has made us one dimensional. We couldn't run "outside" either. Passing every time you have a 3rd and 2 is ridiculous, predictable, and won't work in the long run. If your only options are a Qb draw, screen, quick slant or in or out routs on short yardage plays, you're in trouble. THAT'S the problem.



Lions2SB2 wrote:
DJ-B wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
What would you like to see changed about the offensive system to upgrade our running game? Zone blocking? More two TE sets?

IMO our running game problems virtually 100% personnel related, and 70-80% has to do with the offensive line. I think there are very few running backs that can be successful here, but teams like Pitt, GB, N.O., N.E., etc. can put virtually anyone back there and be successful.


We had possibly the worst playcalling in the entire league on 3rd OR 4th & 3 or less. No Imagination, No Misdirection, Didnt have the Talent to Run up the Middle, but Continued to try to run up the middle, many times with a Light Speed Back named Jahvid Best. Linehans Passing Schemes are solid, but he is a terrible playcalled when he needs to run and the opponent knows he needs to run.


But the play calling goes right back to the coaches. If you say we have the worst play calling then it's not our offensive line anymore.


Not true at all. The coaches are constrained by the talent that they have to work with.


January 27th, 2012, 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
First: I am on the draft a 1st rd OL + 1 more in 3-6 bandwagon... I think we Desperately need to Upgrade the OL talent.

Second: That doesnt absolve Linehan of terrible Playcalling. You are right that we didnt have the Push Nec For Good Runs up the middle, nor the right backs to make up for weak OL run blocking, but we kept trying it, meanwhile our 3rd and 4th and short plays have very little imagination. Very little misdirection. The only chance you have when you Dont have the Physical talent, is for the playcalling to catch the D offguard.

Conclusion: BOth things are at fault and combined for 1 of the best offenses in the NFL at big plays and Passing overall, to Punt WAY too many times because of failures to convert on 3rd & 4th and short. This isnt a Black/white issue.... we are weak in both departments. Upgrade the OL and get better short distance playcalling.


January 27th, 2012, 10:41 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
I have said I think the offensive line needs to be upgraded. I haven't swayed from that. However, it's not the only problem. You cannot say that the coaching staff has constrained the playbook because of the lack of talent on the offensive line. If they felt that way, then why haven't they made a more concerted effort to improve that area? No wjb, your theory is just not that valid, and the lack of determination to improve that poor offensive line by the coaching staff is my proof. Signing Leonard Davis late in the year doesn't qualify as effort.

Linehan's play calling lacks imagination and is predictable. Mostly what I see is iso plays when we put a TE in the backfield (predictable), a slant read play when we have single back, two TE sets (predictable), some belly plays here or there in both single and double TE sets that are slow to develop but used at times when we need quick hitter plays (short yardage situations). I can often predict what the Lions are going to do in certain sets and certain situations. If I can do it as a casual observer, imagine what another NFL team can do after viewing hours of tape and cataloging all that information.

Linehan does use motion well to try and get mismatches in coverage, but that does nothing for our running game.

The Lions had a 4.3 yard per rush average for the season, so it's not like they couldn't run the ball effectively at times, but they just couldn't do it when they needed to. The Giants, who are widely viewed as a strong running team, managed only 3.5 YPC. Teams like Pittsburgh, who have traditionally been strong running teams were still able to manage solid rushing games even with their offensive line decimated by injuries and injuries to their running backs. How? It's because of the system and play calling they have, not the superior talent of their personnel.

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January 28th, 2012, 2:52 pm
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Post Re: Playoff Observations
wjb21ndtown wrote:
A couple of things stood out to to me watching the playoffs:

1) A great offense will beat a great defense in today's NFL. With new rules governing offensive play it is blatant to me that yes, a good defense is a nice luxury (San Fran), but you HAVE to have a good offense to be a good playoff team.

2) We HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RUN THE BALL if we're going to be an elite team, period. And I'm not talking about picking up 100 yards a game. I'm talking about converting 3rd and 2s at will. I'm talking about sustaining drives with the running game in the 2nd and 4th Qs. I'm talking about a ground game that can kill the clock, keep our D off of the field, and control the game. To do this we have to upgrade our interior OL.



The Giants have the worst run game in the league. More importantly, the Giants are HORRIBLE at running on 3rd and short. Easily one of the worst teams in the league in this regard. And it was no different in the last two games they played: they struggled to run the ball for the large majority of the game in Green Bay until breaking off a couple of big runs.

In fact, the Giants offense is very similar to ours. They are in the Super Bowl because a. their defense and special teams stepped it up, something that can't be said for the Lions, and b. They were good at converting third downs, period. Not 3rd and short on runs, but overall. In the GB game alone they converted 5 third downs of 3rd and 8 or longer. When your QB is playing at that otherwordly level, it's easy to win games.


January 28th, 2012, 6:33 pm
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